Not exactly Polish…

I’ve mentioned my quest for gluten-free Polish recipes, and although this isn’t Polish, it’s Ukrainian, so it celebrates vegetables from the same region, very broadly speaking. My neighborhood did not lose power during Hurricane Sandy, so last night for dinner (and again today for lunch), my family enjoyed hearty bowls of borscht.

This part takes forever: scrub and peel about two pounds of beets. Then shred the beets. I think you can use a food processor for this, but I did it with one of those fancy Swiss peelers. It took forever, and the fingertips of my left hand are still stained red/brown, but I felt that it made my borscht more authentic.

Peel, then shred, two large onions. I didn’t have fresh onions, so I used one large head of fennel, and then added dried minced onions to the pot.

Put the shredded beets and onions (or fennel) into a large Dutch oven or stock pot and cover them with approximately four cups of water (or chicken or vegetable stock, if you have it). (Since I didn’t have stock, I added a bit of butter and all-purpose seasoning when I added the water.) Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, put the lid on, and simmer the mixture for half an hour.

After 30 minutes of simmering, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and some salt and pepper (to taste); stir it all together and let it simmer another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls, topped with a dollop of sour cream (or whole-milk yogurt, which is what I used) and a dash of dried dill weed. Enjoy!

Hot Stuff

I know, I know–it’s too hot to make soup–but this is one of the tastiest and most nutrient-dense soups you’ll ever eat. I modified the recipe slightly from one in Judy Converse’s amazing book, Special Needs Kids Eat Right.

Cut one pound of bacon into one-inch pieces. Cook the entire pound of bacon by frying it in a saucepan. Set the cooked bacon pieces aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Peel and dice one pound of potatoes. Parboil the potatoes for five minutes in enough water to cover them, in a Dutch oven. After parboiling the potatoes, add the bacon, five diced shallots, one cabbage (cored and cut into chunks), and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to the Dutch oven. Add enough water or homemade chicken broth to the pot to cover all the ingredients, reduce the heat so that the stew simmers, and allow the stew to simmer for at least an hour. (I cover it so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly, and I lift the lid periodically (with a potholder!) to stir the stew with a wooden spoon and add water, if necessary.

Serve with homemade bread (like the sourdough rye bread in Heidi Swanson’s book here, which I make with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour instead).

Bacon!

Here’s a fun recipe to use up a head of cabbage you may have in your refrigerator. My five-year-old daughter will eat a few bites of my coleslaw, but she told me this dish was “super terrific,” so I’ll be making it again 🙂

Plan to be working in your kitchen for at least 90 minutes, and perhaps as long as two hours. This is a stew, so it’s a great dish for winter, but on any non-super-hot day, it works well.

Cut one pound of sliced bacon into 1.5-inch-long bits and fry it all in a skillet (with a bit of olive oil, if needed). Keep poking the bacon with a fork (or two) in order to cook it all thoroughly and evenly. Don’t let it get too crispy, but make sure it all gets cooked.

While the bacon is cooking, peel two pounds of potatoes and cut them into one-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a small pot, cover them with water, put the lid on, and heat the pot on high until it boils. Then cook the potatoes at a managed boil for five minutes. DO NOT DRAIN THE POTATOES.

Take a Dutch / French oven and sprinkle garlic salt (I love Himalasalt), pepper, and minced onions on the bottom. Wash a head of cabbage, peel off the grody outer leaves, core it, and cut the cabbage into small chunks. Place the cabbage chunks in the Dutch oven on top of the seasonings.

When the bacon and the potatoes are ready, put them (along with all of the potato water) into the Dutch oven, and add as much water (or homemade chicken broth–just boil the legs and wings in a soup pot for an hour the next time you roast a chicken) as you need to cover everything in the pot. Heat the pot over low (or, at most, medium-low) heat to a simmer, and keep it simmering for an hour, stirring periodically.

Serve with bread. (I like the Rye Sourdough recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, although I make it with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Enjoy!

Barbecue-Seasoned Beef Stew

Here’s an easy stew to make with either ground beef or a cut of beef, plus all those root vegetables you have left over from the winter.

Peel and cut root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc.) into chunks (2×2-inch chunks work best). Place cut vegetables into a Dutch / French oven along with 24 ounces of strained tomatoes, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of garlic salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Add 2 cups of water, stir, and place on stove, covered, over very low heat.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef or a diced muscle cut of beef in a skillet. Use a bit of olive oil if necessary.

When the beef is cooked, add it to the Dutch / French oven, stir again, and leave the lid slightly tilted. Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and monitoring to ensure that the liquid does not evaporate completely.

Note: Feel free to add less sugar or honey and/or a spicier pepper than paprika if you prefer a more chili-esque flavor to your stew.